So there we were, the kids and I, pulling out of Walmart at 1:15 in the afternoon, already a quarter-hour past normal naptime and none of us had eaten lunch. That’s when the battle started—between me and myself.
ME: Let’s go to Wendy’s.
MYSELF: Wendy’s? No.
ME: Wendy’s, yes.
MYSELF: Expensive. Junky. Bad.
ME: Easy. Convenient. Quick.
MYSELF: Just go home, make pb&j and cut some apples. It’ll take five minutes, you speedy lunchmaker you.
ME: Flattery, nice. But not true. Three minutes just to get everyone in the house. Then coats and hats and a potty break and groceries to put away. And the baby will be crying in his car seat with his hat over his eyes. I hate it when he cries.
MYSELF: Pessimist much?
ME: They’d like getting nuggets for a change.
MYSELF: And you would like eating Chinese takeout three meals a day, but we’re talking reality here. Have you never even read a Christian mommy food blog?
ME: Ugh, I feel guilty already—
MYSELF: Drive-thru chicken nuggets are not even food. They’re non-food sacrificed to the American idols of convenience and profit. Are you an idolater?
ME: I’ll get their kids’ meals with apple slices. And milk.
MYSELF: Knowing you, you’ll end up trading all your fries for their apple slices.
ME: It’s not all about food, you know. Jesus said, “It’s not what goes into a man that defiles him—”
MYSELF: He’d clearly never been to Wendy’s.
ME: Seriously? Who are you?
MYSELF: I’m you!
ME: Let’s agree to disagree with ourself.
MYSELF: Not until you agree to think of what’s best for our children. Did we study nutrition or not?
ME: You know I know that good nutrition is good. But it’s not everything. It doesn’t save us.
MYSELF: Neither does going to church, or getting baptized, or helping the poor, but we still—
ME: Cut it out. That’s a straw man argument.
MYSELF: I don’t think you know what a straw man argument is.
ME: Homemade pb&j is not a fruit of the Spirit.
MYSELF: A straw man is an informal logical fallacy wherein—
ME: I’m trying to walk a tightrope here.
MYSELF: Non sequitur!
ME: No. Feeding the kiddos. It’s a tightrope walk to love food as a good gift from God, to be thoughtful about nutrition, but not make that the standard I hold myself to.
MYSELF: But standards are a good thing, you can’t deny that.
ME: Well, yes, that’s true . . . but if I’m perfectly frugal and healthy and clean, if I avoid Wendy’s like the plague, and I do it all with bitterness and guilt, what am I?
MYSELF:A good mom?
ME: No! I’m a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal.
MYSELF: A gong to unite mothers around good food! Just think of it: after lunch is done and the kids are down for naps, you can blog about how easy and worth it this was. Let the world know that fifteen extra minutes won’t kill them. Let the baby cry! Let the children whine! Better yet, discipline the whining and you kill at least two birds with one stone. When they’re old and don’t have Wendy’s cancer, they’ll thank you.
ME: Oh stop it! I won’t be more committed to sky-high nutritional ideals than to these kids, right now. God gives us all good things. All of them!
MYSELF: Even Wendy’s? How is that a good thing?
ME: Because, we’re all tired, and hungry—
MYSELF: You’ll never forgive yourself!
ME: Sometimes chicken nuggets and fries are just fun. They’re children, after all.
MYSELF: But your nutrition professors . . .
ME: And peace definitely is a fruit of the Spirit. I’ll have peace if I can sit down with my kids and honestly thank God for providing a drive-thru.
MYSELF: But the Internet gurus . . .
ME: Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit. And won’t it be kind when I share my fries with them?
MYSELF: But your girlfriends . . .
ME: Love is a fruit of the Spirit. I just want to love my kids and love God.
MYSELF: But your pride . . .
That was the argument I had with myself. I won’t tell you who won, but I will tell you that the baby cried, the toddlers whined, and I wrote this instead of that blog post.